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Masdar's US $50mn solar plant is grid-linked

Plant powers Masdar construction and cuts Abu Dhabi's carbon footprint

HH Sheikh Diab bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority and Dr Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar.
HH Sheikh Diab bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority and Dr Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar.

The largest solar power plant in the MENA region, the 10 MW plant at Masdar, has been officially linked to the Abu Dhabi municipal grid.

The plant will power construction of Masdar City, and reduce Abu Dhabi’s carbon footprint by 15,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year – the equivalent of taking 3,300 cars off Abu Dhabi’s roads each year.

The plant was inaugurated under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and His Highness Sheikh Diab bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA).

The solar power plant will provide clean energy to the temporary Masdar site administration facilities, and power the ongoing construction activities of Masdar City. In addition, the plant will supply all the energy needs of the Masdar Institute of Science Technology, a graduate-level scientific institution dedicated to renewable energy study, which opens in late 2009.
 


“Masdar’s 10 MW solar power plant is a testament to our leadership’s dedication to the advancement of renewable energy. The connection of this plant marks an important milestone in the development of Masdar City and in our Emirate’s history,” said Masdar CEO Dr. Sultan Al Jaber.

“We believe this is just the first delivery of the rich potential of solar energy, and we will continue to deliver clean sources of energy to Abu Dhabi and beyond.”

The connection of the solar power plant to Abu Dhabi’s electrical grid was a joint effort by Masdar, the Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC) and the Emirate’s regulatory body, the Regulation and Supervision Bureau. ADDC, Abu Dhabi’s main grid holder, is responsible for operating and developing the distribution networks within the emirate.

“Bringing new, clean sources of energy to the people of Abu Dhabi is an exciting advancement for ADDC,” said MD Ahmed Al Mureikhi. “We know that the next generation of electricity distribution means better integration with renewable energy sources, and we are proud to have taken that step with Masdar.”

The Regulation and Supervision Bureau, which regulates and awards licensing for power generation sources in Abu Dhabi, supplied Masdar with its first licence for renewable energy power. “This is a great example of entities in Abu Dhabi working together to find solutions that will advance the Emirate’s goal of providing clean energy on a large scale. We are proud to be part of this landmark achievement,” said director-general Nick Carter.

The plant, consisting of 87,777 panels (50% thin film and 50% crystalline silicon), is projected to generate 17,500 MWh of clean energy each year (with a single kWh of clean energy being the carbon-offset equivalent of 0.8 kg, depending on an area’s network and its energy-producing source). With the construction costing US$50 million (AED185 million) at an installed power capacity of 10 MW, the plant is also believed to be one of the most cost-efficient PV installations in the world in terms of its projected power output.

Construction on the 212,000m2 plant commenced in August 2008. It was designed and constructed by Enviromena Power Systems. The plant was built using sustainable construction practices, including innovative techniques such as using concrete with a high slag content (GGBS) for civil works, reusing materials extensively across the site, and avoiding environment-unfriendly construction materials such as bitumen and polystyrene.  Rigorous engineering design also minimised the total quantity of steel used across the site.

 

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